For those of you who are new to 52 Weeks of Health, please start at the beginning.
So…time to take that first step, and wonder of wonders, it is not depriving yourself of anything. In fact we are going to add to your diet, not take away. One of the reasons we overeat is our bodies are craving nutrients we don’t give them. So let’s feed that starving body!
The most nutrient dense foods are the green, leafy vegetables.
Your assignment this week is to try to get at least 2 servings per day of these powerhouses. The list below includes the most available and nutritious of these vegetables. I have linked them to their information on The World’s Healthiest Foods site so you can read more about the benefits of each.
I know some of you are saying, “Are you serious? Surely you mean 2 servings per week.” I am serious, and I mean per day. There is no substitute for these nutritious foods; you cannot substitute vitamin pills or anything else. You can eat platefuls of other veggies and you might come close – but it would take a lot. There are very few things you can change in your diet that will have a bigger impact on your health. Perhaps you are going to have to learn to like these, but learn you must. (If you are on blood-thinners, please read the warning below.)
What is one serving of green leafy vegetables?
Raw – about 2 cups moderately packed down
Cooked – 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup
Some nutritional facts of many of these greens: (one serving)
Vitamin A – more than 100% of recommended daily minimum
Vitamin C – 25% or more of recommended minimums
Vitamin K – 500% of daily minimums
Many are significant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids
Rich in other vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories
In the coming days I will detail some of the studies that point to the amazing powers of these vegetables. I will also give ideas for sneaking them into your diet, or for making them the star of the show (for those of you who love them). Because the nutrient content does vary from green to green, try to eat a variety of them to get the most benefit.
Warning note for those on blood thinners: Because of the high vitamin K (a regulator of blood clotting) content of most of these vegetables, you should not change the amount you are currently eating without talking with your doctor first. Most of the time they can monitor you as you slowly increase your intake of greens and adjust your medication accordingly. These vegetables are too important to skip, but please first inform your physician you would like to do it.
Do you have suggetions for ways to increase the intake of these important vegetables? Please share them in the comment section!
Crustless Quiche with Spinach and Broccoli